Let’s assume you want to know your overall sales numbers per day, broken down by category within the same chart. You might not succeed at the first go.

But there is a way to display this specific need for information. A fancy line chart with pie charts per each data point on top will give you this level of information.


Tableau 9 makes it really easy to create this view using the new Level of Detail (LOD) calculations. If you’re working with version 8 or prior you will also be able to realize this using the table calculation function Window_Sum.

So, let’s dive into it.

You would think that creating a dual axis view with a line chart and a pie chart using your secondary dimension in the “Angle” pillow solves your problem, but it doesn’t. You end up with this:

This is because Tableau is missing a valuable information: the sum of the measures to be split up by Category (or whatever secondary dimension you are interested in). Only the numbers PER Category are known, as the level of detail is based on the dimensions in the view.

LOD calculations come to the rescue.

With a calculated field „Sales (LOD)“ using the formula {EXCLUDE

[Category]:SUM([Sales])} we are able calculate the sum of Sales at the level of detail defined in the view without including Category as part of the level of detail, even if Category is in the view.

So, this is what you need to do in order to get fancy:
1. Create a Line Chart with Sales over time
2. Create a Calculated Field „Sales (LOD)“ using the formula {EXCLUDE [Category]:SUM([Sales])}
3. Place Sales (LOD) as the second measure on the Rows shelf
4. Change the mark type to Pie Chart for the second mark
5. Add Category to the Color pillow and Sales to the Angle pillow
6. Choose Dual Axis for Sales (LOD) on the Rows shelf
7. Synchronize axis

How about “before LOD times” (Tableau version 8 and prior)?

Simply calculate the Window_Sum of Sales in order to get the necessary measure aggregated one level higher than in the view.

1. Create a Line Chart with Sales over time
2. Create a Calculated Field “Sales (WINDOW_SUM)” using the formula WINDOW_SUM(SUM([Sales]))
3. Place Sales (WINDOW_SUM) as the second measure on the Rows shelf
4. Change the mark type to Pie Chart for the second mark
5. Add Category to the Color pillow and Sales to the Angle pillow
6. Edit the Table Calculation for Sales (WINDOW_SUM) in the Rows shelf to “Compute using: Category”
7. Choose Dual Axis for Sales (WINDOW_SUM) on the Rows shelf
8. Synchronize axis

You can see a working example for the Window_Sum solution in our Google Analytics Dashboard. Under „Conversion“ you’ll find the chart displaying visits over time split up by (traffic) medium. As the origin of website traffic can be very diverse (depending on your marketing activities) the chart shows instantly what is going on.

We hope you found it interesting to learn how to create this uncommon, but helpful and beautiful chart which we modestly would like to call “Pline Chart” by M2.! 😉